There are many similar sea products in Vietnam, however, depending on the different conditions of each water, sea products of this place can taste more delicious than others. Also, it is up to the chef’s cooking technique and his creativity, the seafood can turn out to be irresistible appetizing dishes for tourists when they first come to a region in Vietnam.
To promote the Vietnamese seafood specialties, and help tourists choosing fresh seafood during their traveling trip, Vietnam Records Book Center have pronounced the top 10 Vietnamese seafood specialties while searching and promoting the Vietnamese specialties and the Vietnamese cuisines.
Sa Sung (Quan Lan Island, Quang Ninh province)
When it is alive, Sa Sung looks like an earthworm, which makes it called “trun bien”, “giun bien” (sea worm), or earthworm as its other names.
Sa Sung in Quan Lan Island is a big one with the sweetest taste across Quang Ninh. Sa Sung might look small, but it can be used to make many wonderful dishes, such as stir-fried Sa Sung with water dropwort and garlic, sweet-and-sour stir-fried Sa Sung, deep-dried Sa Sung, grilled Sa Sung with salt and chili pepper, etc.
Especially, Sa Sung is an indispensable ingredient in adding to the flavor of Pho’s broth. Currently, Sa Sung in Quan Lan Island costs 1,2 – 1,4 million/ kg, which is much more expensive than other regions’ Sa Sung.
Abalone of Bach Long Vy Island (Hai Phong City)
Bach Long Vy Island is the “paradise” of the abalone with “Nine Holes” (it is a type of abalone that settles inside the hole on the seabed). Tourists in Hai Phong usually enjoy this nutritious and luxurious dish after they have visited and admired the beauty of Bach Long Vy Island.
Abalones with “Nine Holes” is an expensive and popular specialty of Bach Long Vy Island, Hai Phong city. Abalones in Bach Long Vy Island are used to make some appetizing dishes, such as abalones with mustard dipping sauce – soy sauce (salad), abalone porridge (with shell), etc. Abalone of Bach Long Vy Island is ranging from 2 – 3 million/ kg.
“Dancing squid” of Cua Lo, Nghe An
“Dancing squid” is so fresh that when it is put in the hot water, the squid keeps “dancing”, which might be the reason for the name “Dancing squid” of this dish. Some people call it “sparkling squid” as the squid meets the moonlight or the flashlight when it has just been caught from the ocean, the lights reflect on its skin making it look sparkling. Although these two names describe two different states of a squid, they all agree on the freshness of the squid.
It is a very simple recipe using this “Dancing squid”. Put the whole fresh squid into a pot, add some crushed ginger and mix well. The round squid will appear with bright pink colors and spots.
The smell of cooked squids blends with the taste of beer, the spicy taste of ginger, creating this dish an indescribably attractive smell. The grilled squids are served on a plate with a dipping sauce, a little bit of lemon, ginger, garlic, and chili pepper. You can feel the chewiness, sweetness, and spicy taste of the squid on the tip of your tongue.
Saltwater Tuna (Phu Yen province)
Tuna appears everywhere along the Vietnamese coast, while Saltwater Tuna in Phu Yen province has the highest quality and the most delicious taste among all. The Saltwater Tuna in Phu Yen province is the Yellowfin Tuna. In December and January in the lunar calendar every year, saltwater tuna flock to Phu Yen. This is the best time to visit Phu Yen and enjoy this special saltwater tuna.
Saltwater tuna is used in many delicious dishes, in which the best ones are tuna salad and tuna hotpot. After being caught from the ocean, the saltwater tuna will be cleaned, sliced, and chilled to maintain the freshness of this fish. When the sliced bright-red tuna turns to pink or white-pink, we can eat it. Besides, tuna’s eyes are also the most signature dish that you can enjoy when you come to Phu Yen.
Tuna’s eyes are as big as a small cup. They are marinated by putting in a jar of Chinese traditional medicine spices. After that, the chef will taste them again, and move on to the next step – get the tuna’s eyes steamed. The dish will be rich in nutrients, elegantly good-smelling, crispy, buttery, sweet, and, overall, irresistible.
Blood Clam of O Loan lagoon (Phu Yen)
O Loan Lagoon is nearby Highway 1A, at the foot of Quan Cau pass, and 22km from Tuy Hoa City. It is a place associated with the Can Vuong movement of Phu Yen province. The lagoon has a total area of 1,200 hectares. Looking from the Quan Cau pass, O Loan is like a phoenix that is spreading its wings. Looking at the map, O Loan is a swan that is leisurely flying.
Because O Loan is a shallow lagoon, it almost lies in the land, its specialty is the blood clam. People say that: “You won’t know anything about Phu Yen if you have not tried its blood clam yet”. If you want to enjoy the Phu Yen’s blood clam, you need to get on a boat with the local divers to the middle of the lagoon, floating on the water, sightseeing the divers harvest the blood clam, and enjoy this seafood right on the boat.
Tourists just need to wait for a bit, the divers will come back with chubby, and fresh blood clams. Tourists will have a chance to fire the charcoal stove, place the grills, and grill the blood clams.
What is more interesting than sitting on a boat, grilling our favorite blood clams, and enjoying them right on the boat. The first impression that you will have is the sweet, buttery taste, with a beautiful scent and smoothness on the tip of your tongue, and moving down to the throat.
Lobster of Binh Ba Island (Khanh Hoa province)
Binh Ba Island in Khanh Hoa province has been known well for its wonderful dishes with lobsters, which is the reason why this island is so-called the “Island of Lobster”. Therefore, it is enough evidence for us to say that the Lobster in Binh Ba Island is very delicious and unique.
Lobsters in Binh Ba Island have many varieties, be it tropical rock lobsters, green lobsters, red lobsters. It is up to the different varieties, the lobster can cost you about 1 million VND/ kg. Despite the high price point, lobster in Binh Ba Island is the most delicious one. The lobster meat is tough and crispy, which makes it different from others.
Although tourists need to pay a lot of money to enjoy this sea product, they would like to enjoy the unique and unforgettable taste of this specialty in Khanh Hoa province.
There are many appetizing recipes using lobsters in Binh Ba Island, such as grilling, steaming, hotpot, raw blood pudding, steamed lobster with chili satay sauce, grilled lobster with cheese, lobster with garlic butter, porridge, lobster soup, etc.
However, the most delicious recipe is the grilled lobster with salt and green peppercorn dipping sauce. The sweetness of the lobster meat, with the pungent taste of the dipping sauce, will make you paralyzed by the fact that it is too delicious and appetizing.
One-Sun Dried Squid of Phan Thiet (Binh Thuan province)
One-sun dried squids in Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan province are the most delicious squids that have just been caught from the ocean. After being successfully shipped to the restaurant, the squids will be clean and exposed to the scorching sunlight of Binh Thuan province in one day, so they can be marinated by nature. Finally, people will collect them and make delicious dishes with these one-sun fried squids.
One-sun dried squids in Phan Thiet are usually used in 2 recipes: squid salad with hot spices, young mango leaves, and sour sliced mango, served with the famous grilled crispy rice paper of Cho Lau township. It is a signature dish in Binh Thuan province.
The second recipe is the grilled one-sun dried squid. When being grilled on a charcoal stove, the squid will gradually turn to a bright yellow color. When you can smell the squids, it means that they are cooked perfectly, and very crispy.
At this moment, nothing is more beautiful than tearing the squids into small pieces and dipping them into the chili sauces or fish sauce of Phan Thiet, enjoying the squids while sipping chilled beer.
Vu Nang snail of Con Dao Island (Ba Ria – Vung Tau city)
The Vu Nang snail is very special. It only lives in the deep sea with the rough terrain. To exploit the Vu Nang snail, the fisherman has to dive into the deep sea for hours and use professional tools to take the snail from the rock so that the snail is not cracked. Due to the difficulty in exploiting this type of snail, the Vu Nang snail is always rare, and it soon becomes the specialty of Con Dao Island.
Vu Nang snail shell has an asymmetric pyramid shape, with a small peak and gray-black color shell outside and sparkling nacre shell inside. Usually, the Vu Nang snail is just as big as 3 adult fingers, however, the Vu Nang snail in Con Dao Island is almost as big as our hand.
The bigger a Vu Nang snail is, the darker its pink shell is. If you rub the snail shell with sand, the shell will sparkle with bright pink colors and glamour glitters.
In Con Dao Island, if you want to eat Vu Nang snail, it is a good idea to come to Da Tham beach, Bai Bang beach, Ong Dung beach, and Hang Cau beach. The most delicious dishes with the Vu Nang nail are boiled Vu Nang snail, grilled Vu Nang snail, or Vu Nang snail salad.
No matter how the Vu Nang snail is cooked, it only needs a dipping sauce with salt, peppercorns, and lemon juice to blow up your mind with a crispy and chewy texture of the snail in your mouth.
What makes the Vu Nang snail different from others is that it is not too greasy like other meats, not too chewy like clams, and not too small like oysters. If you once have a chance to enjoy the Vu Nang snail in milk, you can taste the buttery, delicious taste that is unmistakable with other specialties.
The snail’s water is also appetizing with a salty and sweet taste.
Bien Mai scallop of Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang province)
Bien Mai is a bivalve mollusk. It is dark brown, paper-fan-shaped (flat, slim, and long like a half-closed paper fan), over 1kg in weight, mushy, and tasteless. Bien Mai includes two flesh layers (as big as a coin with the thickness of half of a finger) linked to its two pieces of shell, which is the most delicious part of it.
Bien Mai is used in many recipes: sweet and salty stir-fried Bien Mai, steamed Bien Mai, Bien Mai soup, Bien Mai hot pot, etc. when being cooked with shiitakes, straw mushrooms, onions, and mustard greens.
The delicious sweetness of the seafood blends perfectly with the softness of mushrooms, the sweetness of onions, and a little bit of spicy taste from the mustard greens, making people cannot stop eating it.
However, for the gourmets who want to enjoy the original taste of the ocean, they don’t like the Bien Mai to be grilled plainly, or grilled with salt and chili pepper. All they need is the whole plate of Bien Mai scallops will be marinated with unrefined salt which has been grounded with chili pepper, and screwed with coconut leaf veins, and grilled on the charcoal stove.
When the scallops turn from the milk color to the yellow one, it means that they are cooked. If the scallops are overcooked, they will lose their crispy and chewy texture. The salty taste of the salt and the spicy of the chili peppers increase the delicious and appetizing taste of the Bien Mai scallops.
To enjoy all the sweetness of the scallops, you have to sorely dip them into the fermented Tofu, and enjoy the dish with basil, lecture, lettuce, under-ripe banana, cucumber, and pineapple.
The Bien Mai porridge is loved by many tourists. The elegant sweetness of the scallop and the fierceness of peppercorns make eaters feel much better after their long journey or dispel the weariness brought by alcohol.
Mantis shrimp (Ca Mau province)
The mantis shrimp meat is delicious, sweet, elegant, and imbued by the sea flavor, which makes it different from back tiger shrimps, or lobsters. When being boiled, the white-brown mantis shrimp will turn into a red or a dark brown color.
The way to cook mantis shrimp is not so sophisticated. Just steaming, boiling, or grilling it, and enjoying it with a lemon juice, salt and pepper dipping sauce, or fish sauce with tamarind, is enough to attract tourists from across the nation.
The mantis shrimps will be taken off after being steamed perfectly. Their skin will be yellow-brown. The chubby shrimps lie in layers making them look attractive. After peeling the skin, you will see the bright pink shrimp meat. Unlike the steamed mantis shrimps, the grilled ones are drier and chewier.
The shrimp meat is more tender, firmer, and sweeter than steamed shrimp. The dipping sauce used for grilled mantis shrimp is lemon juice with salt and pepper. The sweetness of the shrimp meat and the sour, spicy, salty of the dipping sauce make the dish a fresh fusion of sweetness.